Now… I’ll be the first to admit that I’m no County Fair beauty pageant queen. But Imma just say that if you need a quick shot of self esteem the best way to find it is by spending the day at an indoor water park in the Ozarks. The only way to tell the men from the women was that (most of) the women had the decency to cover their boobs.
And while I went to bed Saturday night feeling a little more confident in my unfortunate body type than when I had woken up that morning, water parks are far from my idea of the most perfect day ever.
It may have something to do with the fact that I technically lost my virginity when I was fourteen as the result of a scissor kick gone wrong off of the high dive at Peony Park. That, and I’m just not really a huge fan of anything ‘extreme’. Especially extreme things involving bathing suits, community water, things squirting me in the face, amped up children running around or a slide that causes me to hit the water with enough force to send my tampon rocketing into my throat.
No, my idea of the most perfect day ever involves me by myself at a quiet little winery somewhere in Spain with a notebook, a pencil, a good idea, a fresh crock pot full of Rotel and some taco meat.
I would also accept a bar with the words ‘Thirsty ______ (insert name of farm animal here)’ in the title as a substitute for the winery in Spain.
Anyhoo, my family wasn’t really supportive of my idea of me going to a winery in Spain by myself so Ozarkian water park it was.
Ellie is a huge weenie when it comes to anything involving risk so I anticipated a nice quiet day in the hot tub. This is by design; I’m Queen Weenie. But five minutes in she grew a pair and the next thing I knew we were hand in (my) sweaty hand waiting in line to slide down some really tall tube thing.
By the time we finally made it to the top my knees were shaking so hard I could barely stand. The only thing keeping me going was the fact that she would be on my lap and if things went south I could use her little body as a buffer.
“Mom goes down first and she’ll catch you at the bottom,” I heard the lifeguard say.
“You can’t go down together; you go first and catch her at the bottom.”
“Ma’am? You ready? You’re holding up the line.”
“Ma’am, you need to let go of my waist.”
“Ellie, we can’t go down together. You have to go down by yourself.”
“What did you say? You’re too scared? Okay, we can just go back down. No problem.”
“No, it’s okay Mom – just catch me at the bottom.”
“Well I don’t want to force you to do something you don’t want to do…”
“Mom. Go. You’re embarrassing me.”
So I had to put on my big girl pants and act like I wasn’t terrified. I flew through pitch black darkness, bracing my vulva for impact the entire time. My efforts were futile; I hit the water with all the force of a prison rape.
And guess what? It was all she wanted to do all day. After roughly time number six I overheard my sister complaining all my nephew wanted to do was sit in the hot tub.
So, I did the noble thing and offered to switch with her.
“Hay-Nay-Nay (he calls me Hay Nay Nay), I gotta go pee,” he said, two minutes into our time in the hot tub.
“Yeah no shit… that’s why I got into the hot tub,” I said. “Let her rip.”
“Hay-Nay-Nay, I gotta go pee,” He said, his lower lip quivering.
As we walked into the bathroom I realized I know nothing about a 2-year-old boy’s anatomy. I stood him in front of the toilet, that came roughly to his shoulder.
“Here you go. You good? Ship shape. Welp… I’m freezing. I’ll meet you back at the hot tub; just walk back through the locker room the way we came.”
I retreated to the hot tub, closed my eyes, and finally relaxed. It was the next best thing to being at the Thirsty Duckling.